Trench Collapse in Faribault has Happy Ending
Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst says his department was dispatched along with the Faribault Police Department, Rice County Sheriff's Office and North Memorial Ambulance to a trench collapse. The call came in 12:23 p.m. that a worker was buried up to his chest in front of 1340 Matteson Street in Faribault. That is located on the east side of town.
Upon arrival co-workers had cleared the dirt away from the victim's chest so he was conscious and breathing. He was the only person in the trench at the time of the collapse.
The trench that the victim was working in was "unprotected, so fire crews had to shore up the trench walls before making entry into the trench to begin digging to free the victim," Dienst explained.
Dienst says, "Fire crews worked for approximately an hour and forty five minutes to free the victim. The victim was alert and talking the entire time and once freed from the weight of the soil, was able to walk to the awaiting stretcher to be transported to the hospital by North Ambulance."
Crews cleared the scene 2:39 p.m.
Dienst added his department and Faribault Police performed an initial investigation and documented the scene. Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was contacted.
An investigator was dispatched to the scene to meet with the Fire Department and workers performing the trenching.
Fire Chief Dienst was elated with the outcome saying, "Trench rescues are a low-frequency, high-risk operation. Thankfully, we have the equipment and the training to perform this type of rescue. We don't get calls like this very often and I am very happy with the results of this operation, as most trench collapse emergencies don't end this well."
The identity of the victim was not released by authorities. The Faribault Fire Chief did tell KDHL the victim was a "young man" and speculated that helped with the positive outcome.
Dienst says firefighters train every year on trench rescues. They received some equipment a number of years ago through a FEMA grant that is specifically designed for such work.
Metal poles called Air Shores are used to shore up the walls to make it safe for rescuers to go in the trench and dig. These poles are filled with air pressure. One man then went into the trench to shovel the dirt away.